Raspberry (Rubus spp.)-Crumbly Fruit

PNW Plant Disease Image

Confirmed to have RBDV and notice the poorly formed fruit.

PNW Plant Disease Image

Severely affected plant (Treatment RBDV – RpLV) with reduced number of drupelets.

PNW Plant Disease Image

Healthy virus-free berries on the left. On the right plants have a combination of Raspberry bushy dwarf virus (RBDV), Raspberry leaf mottle virus
(RLMV) and Raspberry latent virus (RpLV).

PNW Plant Disease Image

Virus infected plants on the left and healthy on the right. First fruiting year after planting of 'Meeker' red raspberries.

Note the yellow areas between the veins on the center leaf.
Note the yellow areas between the veins on the center leaf.
Severely affected leaves are almost completely bright yellow.
Severely affected leaves are almost completely bright yellow.
Bright yellow areas along the main veins of the leaf give a "network" appearance to the leaves.
Bright yellow areas along the main veins of the leaf give a "network" appearance to the leaves.

See also:

Cause A virus complex consisting of Raspberry bushy dwarf virus (RBDV) and Raspberry leaf mottle virus (RLMV) and/or Raspberry latent virus (RpLV). The cultivar 'Meeker' had more severe growth reductions when infected by RBDV and RLMV; whereas crumbly fruit was more prominent when infected by RBDV and RpLV or the three viruses together (RBDV, RLMV and RpLV). RBDV is spread by pollen while the other two are aphid vectored. RLMV spread rate is much higher than that of RpLV, which needs a 6-7 day period in the aphid to become transmissible. The disease can be found on many red and black raspberry cultivars as well as 'Boysenberry', 'Loganberry' and 'Marionberry' blackberries. Entire fields may become infected with the virus within 3-5 years of planting, depending on inoculum pressure from adjacent fields. The fruit from infected plants often will not make IQF grade and is sold as a lower value produce for juice, jam or puree. Since pollen is infected with RBDV honeybees play an important role in moving infected pollen from plant to plant.

A survey of RpLV and RLMV in Washington and Oregon revealed that the two viruses are present at high incidence in northern Washington; whereas the incidence in southern Washington and Oregon, where crumbly fruit is not a serious problem, was considerably lower.

Symptoms The virus complex may not produce symptoms on the foliage of many cultivars but may cause crumbly fruit as in 'Meeker'. Many drupelets abort, which causes the fruit to crumble at harvest, resulting in significant reductions of yield and fruit quality. On 'Puyallup', bright yellow areas along the leaf's main and smaller veins give the leaves a "network" appearance. Severely affected leaves are almost completely bright yellow. In some red raspberry cultivars, faint ring and line patterns develop on leaves. The disease reduces growth and fruit yield in 'Meeker' and 'Canby' red raspberry but the major impact is a reduction in fruit quality. In the black raspberry 'Munger', both reduced growth and crumbly fruit occur. Though many cultivars are symptomless when infected with only one of the viruses, 'Autumn Bliss' develops bright yellow leaves and crumbly fruit when plants are infected with RBDV alone. As far as is known all blackberries are symptomless when infected with any one of these viruses, thus can serve as inoculum sources for new fields planted nearby.

Cultural control

  • Use certified planting stock.
  • 'Willamette' and 'Chilcotin' red raspberries are immune to raspberry bushy dwarf infection. 'Haida', 'Comox', and 'Heritage' are moderately resistant.
  • Plant in large blocks to slow movement into new plants, especially if fields in the immediate area are infected.
  • Isolate new plantings from Rubus fields known to be infected. This requires testing, as many cultivars are symptomless when infected with only one of the viruses.

References Martin, R.R., MacFarlane, S., Sabanadzovic, S., Quito, D., Poudel, B. and Tzanetakis, I.E. 2013. Viruses and virus diseases of Rubus. Plant Dis. 97:169-182.

Quito-Avila, D.F. 2011. Impact of Raspberry bushy dwarf virus, Raspberry leaf mottle virus, and Raspberry latent virus on Plant Growth and Fruit Crumbliness in Red Raspberry (Rubus ideaus L.) 'Meeker'. PhD thesis. Oregon State University.